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Mom's Second ChanceMichael Glenwood

Mom's Second Chance

My mother, Kathy Webster, was an amazing woman. She held our family of seven together though she struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety through much of her adult life. Her mental health worsened in 1983, soon after both of her parents died. Seeing no way out, she drove her car into the Ohio River. Thankfully, a brave young man dove into the river and saved her.

Following her suicide attempt, my mother was treated for depression; she awakened spiritually and shored up a frayed relationship with my father. She lived another mostly happy 27 years, welcoming five grandchildren to the family. In 2010, when she was very ill, she sensed that she was nearing the end of her life. “But it’s okay,” she said, “I’ve lived a good life because I married a fun man.” Mom hung on long enough to attend the wedding of her first grandson before leaving this world.

I will forever be grateful to the man who rescued my mother from the river. I’m also thankful that there were no guns at home when she felt so desperate. Even the most talented surgeons can rarely rescue someone who attempts suicide with a gun.

Some believe that if a person wants to take their own life or someone else’s, it is fruitless to limit their access to a gun. My research and personal experience suggest otherwise.

Daniel Webster, ScD ’91, MPH, is a professor in Health Policy and Management and directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.


  • Fehmida Visnegarwala

    India 02/27/2013 01:15:20 AM

    It is very enthusing to see this important piece of research being done by Dr. Wilcox. Understanding he epidemiology and the who, when and how of suicides is the first step towards prevention. Thank you for all the good work!

  • A Schulz

    Wisconsin 02/27/2013 02:35:26 PM

    We need to change the parameters of discussion to seeing that the energy in the bullet, as released by the gun, is the major factor that determines injury and can be regulated just as we regulate other forms of energy. The 2nd A. debate can be avoided if we regulate bullets and guns as energy that is potentially dangerous for the public regardless of whether the triggering activity is anger, mental illness, video games, political disagreement, or simple mistaken identity. We don't allow the energy in a grenade in a pocket, but in many cases would be less dangerous than a handgun or high capacity rapid fire, low recoil rifle. The whole discussion has to change focus. By the way, I am a former Marine, former NRA member, gun owner, hunter, RN,middle aged, middle class, white male, exactly the demographic the NRA claims to represent. They do not represent me. Oh, I also have been assaulted 4 times by people with handguns , and if I had been armed, I would have been shot right away and my gun stolen. I take this issue both personally and professionally very seriously.

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